technology

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Public Gets On-Line Access to 9th Circuit Beginning Monday

Posted By on Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 3:00 PM

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which holds appellate jurisdiction for Idaho, as well as Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, is starting the new year by opening up its hearings to more of the public—by live-streaming its bigger hearings on the Internet. In particular, the 9th Circuit will broadcast live its so-called "en banc" hearings, which are cases that include the 9th Circuit's chief judge and 10 other judges. Most appeals court cases are heard by a panel of three jurists.

Recently, Idahoans have watched the 9th Circuit hand down judgments on the Gem State's roadless rules, convicted felons awaiting execution, parental rights, Boise's anti-camping ordinance and Proposition 8.

The 9th Circuit will also begin live-streaming its audio coverage of all regular hearings beginning Monday, Jan. 6.

Internet users can listen to oral arguments online by visiting ca9.uscourts.gov and clicking on links listed under "Live Oral Arguments."

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Were You Hacked on Snapchat? Here's a Search Engine to Find Out

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Snapchat users are beginning to learn if their phone numbers or other personal data were among the 4.6 million account details that were reportedly hacked over the New Year holiday.

Unidentified hackers say they carried out an attack on Snapchat "to raise awareness of a security loophole in the database of the social media application."

In a statement emailed to the website TechCrunch, the alleged hackers wrote:

"Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue. It is understandable that tech start-ups have limited resources but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does. You wouldn't want to eat at a restaurant that spend millions on decoration, but barely anything on cleanliness."

The hack came just days after a blog post in which Snapshot referenced a flaw posted on Christmas Eve by Gibson Security that alleged it could match thousands of phone numbers to usernames every few minutes. Snapchat wrote, ""Theoretically, if someone were able to upload a huge set of phone numbers, like every number in an area code, or every possible number in the U.S., they could create a database of the results and match usernames to phone numbers that way."

A message on Gibson's website said: "Are you part of the recent 4.6 million Snapchat user leak? Let's hope not. Enter your username below to find out."

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Apple Drove Record Online Traffic and Sales on Christmas Day

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Christmas Day traffic was overwhelming. No, the interstate was relatively calm. However, IBM tracked millions of online transactions at hundreds of Internet retail sites in the U.S.

And according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, nearly half of all online traffic came from mobile devices. Throughout the holiday season, mobile traffic was responsible for 48 percent of all online traffic, up from 28 percent in 2012.

Christmas Day traffic was up 16.5 percent year over year. IBM said tablets drove the lion's share of mobile sales on Christmas.

IBM also found that iOS users were responsible for five times more online sales than Android users. According to IBM, “On average, iOS users spent $93.94 per order, nearly twice that of Android users, who spent $48.10 per order.”

And Facebook continues to grow as a major consumer engine. IBM found that shoppers coming from Facebook spent $72.01 per order and that Facebook referrals converted sales four times more often than Pinterest referrals.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Idahoans Top Nation in Going Wireless

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM

More than half of Idahoans live wirelessly, preferring cellular phones to landlines, the Washington Post reports.

Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Idaho is the only state where a majority of residents use only cellular phones—52.3 percent, according to the study.

States that also scored high in terms of the percentage of residents exclusively using cellular phones include Arkansas, Mississippi and Utah, which join Idaho in having 45 percent or more of residents relying on cell service. They're also some of the states with the lowest per capita income.

In fact, the study found that cellular reliance is heaviest among people who live below the poverty line, live in houses with people unrelated to them and in geographically isolated areas.

According to the study, the results—that an increasing number of households are relying on cellular phones instead of land lines—imply that it will soon be more difficult for random digit dial telephone surveys to reach interviewees, since cellphones have not been traditionally included in their survey parameters. For the rest of us, that means fewer phone disturbances during dinner.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Mother of Invention: Google Honors Grace Hopper

Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

google_grace_hopper.jpg

Have you checked out Google's homepage this morning? Each day, the search engine tries something a little different in its spelling of G-O-O-G-L-E, and today, you'll see an old-school computer with a woman in front of a keyboard console that looks more like a piano.

The woman is supposed to represent Grace Hopper, also known as the "mother of COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language)—one of the first computer codes to rely on language rather than numbers—paving the way for modern programming. Hooper would be 107 years old today.

Hopper left her job as a professor at Yale to join the U.S. Navy in 1943, where she worked on something called the "Mark I Electromechanical Computing Machine," a 51-foot long, 8-foot high and 8-feet deep computer. She went on to help develop COBOL, FORTRAN and numerous other computing innovations.

Take a look at her 1982 appearance on David Letterman.


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

'Fall Back' Tonight

Posted By on Sat, Nov 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM


Yes, tonight is the night to set the clocks back.

More specifically, daylight saving time ends Sunday, Nov. 3 at 2 a.m. The time shift will result in less daylight, meaning that many of us will be waking up in the dark and heading home from work in the dark.

Daylight saving time became official with something called "war time," when President Franklin Roosevelt codified the time shift to save resources. War time was enforced 40 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and some time zones were even called Pacific War Time or Mountain War Time. (Many still dispute whether daylight saving time really triggers significant economic savings.) After the war, saving time remained but a number of states opted out until the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was passed. Yes, it's mandatory but Arizona and Hawaii still choose not to "spring forward" for daylight saving time.

Standard time, which we're about to enter Sunday morning, is what many people consider to be "more normal" as it has been around since the 1840s. Standardized time was primarily instituted to help manage railways; in fact, it was known as "railway" time for decades. But standard time was not enacted into U.S. law until the 1918 Standard Time Act.


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

NSA Scooped Up Tens of Thousands of Citizen Emails

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 9:29 AM

They say it was an accident.

U.S. intelligence officials confirmed Aug. 21 that the National Security Agency collected up to 56,000 emails of Americans between 2008 and 2011. The emails were scooped up despite their senders having no reported connection with terrorism.

James Clapper, director of national intelligence, confirmed that he would release three formerly classified documents showing the extent of the alleged errors and, in a sign of the times, post them on his Tumblr blog page.

Politico reports that intelligence officials explained that the intercepts of American emails were accidental, yet the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court did not know about them until three years after they occurred.

The court said, in the form of a series of opinions, that the NSA collected thousands of emails, including screengrabs of inboxes.

The emails reportedly have since been purged.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Judge: Apple Was Central Conspirator in E-Book Price Fixing

Posted By on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Apple may need to start peeling away some major dollars to settle damages in an antitrust suit following this morning's ruling from a federal judge that Apple helped to conspire the pricing of e-books.

Government prosecutors argued that Apple had colluded with five mega-publishers to raise prices from electronic books across the publishing market. The antitrust suit was brought before a federal court a year ago and the publishers all settled their cases, but Apple executives had insisted that they had done nothing wrong.

When Apple entered the e-book market in 2010, analysts said the company dramatically changed the way publishers sold books by introducing something called "agency pricing" where the publisher—not the retailer—set the price and then Apple took a cut of each purchase. As a result, e-book prices went higher. Prosecutors said Apple also used a "most-favored nation clause," threatening competitors to switch to the agency model so they could raise prices.

Following her ruling in a Manhattan courtroom this morning, United States District Judge Denise Cote said she would soon sent a date to determine damages.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Law Enforcement: Smartphones Should Include 'Kill Switch'

Posted By on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

A group of law enforcement officials from across the country want a feature installed into phones that would serve as a "kill switch," allowing the devices to be rendered useless if stolen or lost. They want to cut off the market for stolen phones, which can easily be wiped and resold.

"It would brick the phone," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "Thieves have to know that there's no point of stealing a phone."

Schneiderman stood next to attorneys general from some of the nation's other states and a host of consumer advocates to launch what they call their "Secure Our Smartphones" initiaitive.

But law enforcement said the smartphone industry, which actually thrives on lost phones, has been resistant to the idea thus far, saying it was far down their priority list.

The Federal Communications Commission reported in 2012 that mobile phone thefts were involved in nearly one in three robberies across the nation.

"We intend to pursue this with every tool in our toolbox," said Schneiderman.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Trial Centering on Apple E-Book Price Fixing Claim Begins Monday

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Idaho and multiple other states have already settled with five major publishers that were accused of unlawful conspiracy to fix the prices of e-books, but one defendant remains: Apple.

Today in a New York City courtroom a federal judge will hear prosecutors' claims that Apple, Inc., was involved in price-fixing. Feds alleged that Apple, along with HarperCollins, Simon & Shuster, Harchette, McMillan and Penguin books, conspired to force Amazon.com to raise its prices for e-books.

Attorneys for the California-based Apple say the allegation is based on "faulty assumptions and unfounded conclusions."

The federal judge has already urged Apple to follow suit with the five other publishers to settle with the U.S. government.

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